The vaccine rollout is well underway now and I know it’s something everyone is anxious about. We all want those we love, especially family members who are older or more vulnerable, to get vaccinated urgently.
There are three systems for vaccination in action right now. The first is being run by groups of local GP’s who’ve come together to offer a local service based on the patient lists from their practices. The vaccination centres based in Portslade and up at the racecourse are both part of this.
Then we have our mass vaccination centre which is organised and administered by our local public health bodies in conjunction with a national system that makes appointments for people to be vaccinated and supplies the vaccine. Finally, we have a mobile team that’s been shuttling between care homes and other settings where people can’t make their own way to a centre. This team is run by local public health services and it even gets to several dozen people’s homes each day where vulnerable people live alone.
As you know from the news, the four priority groups are being vaccinated first and locally we’re making really good progress. Every care home has been visited by teams and every resident has been vaccinated except those who are already covid-positive which sadly is more than 200. You all know how much I have campaigned for measures to be put in place to prevent covid getting into care homes, and I’ve been assured that those remaining residents will get the vaccine the very moment they recover.
We’re only 12 days away from the target date for all of the priority groups to be vaccinated and I’ve been promised we’re on target to meet that important milestone in our city. That does mean there are some people who’ve not yet got the letter or call and that’s worrying, especially if you know of other friends or relatives who’s had theirs already. But please, this is being run and managed by the NHS and you can trust the system – this isn’t being done by Matt Hancock’s mates like the testing and tracing system so don’t panic!
This website has answers to all your questions about the local vaccine rollout, the priority groups, and the science behind the vaccines. I use this site all the time and I really do recommend it: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/…/faqs-about-the…/
If you’re still hungry for more information, this site stores all of the detailed announcements from our local public health services, including the latest vaccination statistics: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/…/stakeholder…/
If you still have a very specific question that’s not answered here, you can contact officials here: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and telephone: 0800 433 4545
My dad finally got his letter and he’s booked in for his vaccination over in West Sussex on Friday. Before he got the letter I asked if he was getting worried, he said he had total faith they’d get to him soon and the only thing annoying him was people like me calling every day asking if he had an appointment yet! So you see, I can fuss too!
I’ve been contacted by a lot of people with really challenging circumstances that are outside of the four priority groups. Often this involves families that have an extremely vulnerable child who’s safety depends on the whole family shielding. I’ve asked a lot about this and the difficult truth is that we don’t have enough evidence as to the vaccine effectiveness on children and young people. I really hope we get that soon.
In less than a fortnight government will have to make a decision about which groups of people will be called for vaccination once the four priority groups have been completed. Scientists and experts advise, but it’s always politicians who decide. Keir Starmer and Labour believe that we should seize the opportunity that half term presents and vaccinate teachers. This would be the foundations of a plan to get schools back up and running but giving teachers security and peace of mind, parents confidence, and students would no long need worry that they could be carrying an infection that could harm the teachers for whom they respect and care about.
Hundreds of people are volunteering at vaccinations centres. If that’s you then thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m desperate for the vulnerable people in my life to receive the vaccine and for our whole community to benefit from it as soon as possible.
This is an exhausting, stressful, and emotionally challenging time. I understand it because I’m going through it too alongside everyone else locally and it’s tough being isolated yet finding ways to be healthy, productive and and socially engaged.
I have faith in the vaccine programme. For the first time since the crisis began government have trusted our NHS and it’s experts and it’s the right thing to do.